The Beauty of Plantation Shutters

Improving Your Home with Plantation Shutters
One of the seemingly never-ending responsibilities of any homeowner is maintaining the home in good condition and making meaningful improvements which keep the home as well-appointed as others in the area and increase its appeal among eventual buyers should the home ever be put on the market. Compared to other home improvement projects, adding plantation shutters is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to improve the look of your home both from inside and from the street.

Whether you’re thinking of selling your home in the near future or you simply want to beautify your home without taking on an arduous and costly home improvement project, plantation shutters are an excellent way to go.

Plantation shutters are an easy way to beautify your home by adding depth and texture that goes beyond the typical window dressing that does little more than cover the area over the windows where the blinds are hung. Before deciding on which shutters will work best for your windows, though, it is worthwhile to learn more about the different types of plantation shutters that are available; you may very well find that different types of plantation shutters are better suited to different windows within your home.

Tier-on-tier and café-style shutters
Although virtually all plantation shutters offer the advantages of style, beauty and elegance as well as increased privacy and energy efficiency, homeowners should consider the specific function of plantation shutters within each room of their home before making a selection. If your home is in a busy urban setting, you have probably noticed that with conventional blinds, you are often faced with having to either keep them shut after dark or allow the world to see into your home.

Likewise, during the day you might prefer to keep the lower half of your window covered but still allow some light into your home. You don’t have this option with conventional blinds, but with tier-on-tier and café-style plantation shutters you do.  The upper and lower halves of tier-on-tier shutters can be opened and closed independently of one another, and café-style shutters cover the bottom half of the window only, maintaining privacy while allowing ample light into the room.

Full-height and solid-style shutters
If you live in one of the northerly latitudes or at a windy beachside location, you might consider solid-style shutters for some rooms. Although an all-or-nothing proposition in terms of light, they are the most effective at blocking draughts and are just as useful as blackout curtains when it comes to keeping light out so that one can enjoy a good night’s sleep well past sunrise. For those who prefer the option of opening the louvers to admit light, full-height plantation shutters are an excellent choice, as they cover the window from top to bottom while allowing you to control the amount of light coming in.

The Beautiful Shutter Company is fast becoming one of the leading producers of bespoke plantation shutters in the North East of England. With our years of experience and dedication to providing each customer with the exact shutters to suit their needs, we are certain that you will enjoy the shutters you order from us for as long as you live in your home.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call us today on 01642 688049 or visit the Beautiful Shutter Company website today.

What Happens If My Building Fails the Air Test

What Happens If My Building Fails the Air Test
Air Pressure Testing can offer different diagnostic tools to check for air leakage paths should your building fail the initial air tightness test. We usually use two methods of identifying air leakage paths, either the smoke puffer for smaller buildings or our large smoke machines.We use the smoke pencils identify local air leakage paths as this can quickly identify the internal air leakage paths on smaller buildings, however this can be very time consuming.

For large commercial buildings we usually use our larger smoke generators. We set our large fan systems to pressurise the whole building and leave them switched on for a short period to pressurise the building to around 50 Pa. The smoke egress is then observed as it escapes from the building and is subsequently recorded via photographs and video.
Smoke tests usually take no longer than 1 hour – even for quite large buildings, and the smoke survey results highlighting the air leakage paths offer the buildering contractor invaluable information so remedial works can then be planned and targeted in an efficient manner to achieve a successful air test at the 2nd attempt.

We also offer a Thermal imaging service to identify areas of air leakage, this technique identifies the air leakage paths as well as poorly insulated areas due to discontinuous insulation etc. A report can then be provided showing the location of anomalies and subsequent air tightness detailing to attain a successful air test.

Most large buildings usually need to achieve an airtightness target of 5 m3/(hr/m2 which is fairly easy to achieve on larger commercial buildings.  Over the last few years designers have demanded significantly better standards of airtightness in residential and commercial buildings to ensure that the occupants enjoy a satisfactory state of comfort and well-being. The major benefits of tighter airtightness standard are improved energy efficiency and therefore smaller running cost throughout the buildings lifespan.

IN our experience the main areas of air leakage are usually:

Using our considerable experience in regards to air leakage test failures and smoke testing to find air leakage paths, we have built up a good understanding as to the to the most common air leakage paths in residential and commercial buildings.

Here is a list of the most common areas that may result in air tightness test failures:

General Items

  • Large gaps left around services that penetrate through the floor e.g. soil pipes etc.
  • Gaps between floorboards.
  • Around the perimeter of the floor and walls junction – air escapes behind the dot and dab plasterboard.
  • Joists that penetrate into wall construction:
  • Masonry walls: Gaps left around joists that penetrate into the inner leaf of external walls. Air leakage from the cavity into the upper floor void leaking into the dwelling through gaps between flooring and through any penetrations in the ceilings, eg recessed lights and ceiling light roses.
  • Through electrical sockets where faceplates are missing.
  • Loft hatches not fitting properly or the seals are missing.
  • Around recessed ceiling lights.
  • Doors and windows that have poor seals that do not close tightly resulting in large air leakage paths.
  • Trickle vents are damaged or missing
  • The frames are twisted do the doors and windows are not sitting tight against the seals.
  • The door/window handles are damaged and are not closing properly.
  • Missing/broken window panes.
  • Under door & window cills at the cill/wall junction.

Kitchen Units

  • Large gaps left around services that penetrate through the wall behind the kitchen units.
  • Large Gaps around poorly fitted extractor fans and cooker hoods around the wall and the ventilation duct.
  • Large gaps around the floor/wall junction.
  • Holes not sealed around the bottom of the domestic service riser.

Bathrooms

  • Large Gaps around bath panels
  • Large gap around penetrations under the bath
  • Gaps around the sink waste
  • Large gaps around the toilets SVP where it terminates into service boxing.
  • Gaps to the rear of the toilets – especially prevalent around wall mounted toilets.

Boiler Cupboards

  • Large gaps left around services that penetrate through the walls, floors and ceilings.
  • Large gaps around ventilation flue.
  • Large gaps around the floor/wall junction behind the boiler.
  • Holes not sealed around the bottom of the domestic service riser

Whether you need a full on-going air tightness design/consultancy service, air sealing help, or just a simple air test Air Pressure Testing have the knowledge and experience to ensure your building passes first time.

If you are unsure of the air tightness services you require, please call us on 07775 623464 or e-mail us at info@airpressuretesting.net and one of our air tightness engineers will guide you through the air testing process, ensuring that you receive the right level of advice at the right time.

Sound Insulation Testing for Part E – Common Questions & Answers

Sound Insulation Testing for Part E – Common Questions & Answers
Over the last couple of years APT have collated and answered the most common asked questions in regards to sound testing.

What is Sound Testing for Part E of Building Regulations? Sound insulation is the property of a wall and /or dividing partition to resist the passage of noise. The sound Insulation testing is a method of quantifying the sound insulation performance of walls and/or floors. Sound Insulation testing can be carried out on party walls, party floors or facades of any building.

How many sound tests should I need on my Project? Approved Document E states that one set of sound tests is required for every 10 units in a group or sub-group. A group or sub-group is defined where significant differences in construction or layout occur, for instance:

  • For a pair of semi-detached Houses – a set of tests would usually comprise two airborne sound insulation tests of a separating wall.
  • For Flats (up to 10 units) – a six pack would normally be required, this comprises of: two airborne wall tests, two airborne floor tests and two impact floor sound tests. The easiest way to work out the number of tests required is to multiply 1 x 6 packs for every 10 flats, i.e. if you have 22 flats you will require 3 x 6 packs which equals 18 sound tests in total.
  • For Rooms for Residential Purposes (student accommodation, hotel rooms, care homes etc.) – a set of tests would usually comprise: one airborne sound insulation tests of a separating wall; one airborne sound insulation test of a separating floor; one impact sound transmission test of a separating floor.

How are plots selected for sound testing?
APT will usually specify the amount of sound insulation tests that are required. We first look at the floor plans then work out a testing schedule taking into account testing through the projects ‘habitable rooms’ i.e. lounges & bedrooms where possible. We will also try and undertake testing across walls and floors in different areas of the building and through different partition types i.e. if one wall is made of masonry and the other met-sec partitioning.  When we have specified the sound testing schedule it should always be checked by building control and/or the client to seek their approval before the commencement of sound testing.

How do I Prepare my Site for Sound Insulation Testing?
APT always send out a checklist with our fee proposals to help you prepare for the sound testing, as we always want our clients to be fully prepared so they can pass their sound testing at the first attempt.

How long will the sound testing take?
The time taken to undertake the sound testing varies with site conditions, but generally a ‘6 pack’ set of tests on houses and flats takes about one to two hours. Obviously this depends on the site being fully prepared in line with our sound testing checklist.

Will the sound insulation testing disrupt work on site?
Relatively quiet conditions are needed to take accurate measurements. This means that anyone working in the testing area will have to leave temporarily and any noisy works in the vicinity of the test rooms will need to be halted i.e. using power tools or loud hammering etc.

How do I know if I’m ready for a sound insulation test? We send out a checklist with all quotations to allow our clients to check they are ready for the sound testing. Basically the plots should be at least at second fix stage – for further details please refer to our checklist.

What if I only have 110V and not 240V on site?
Unfortunately we cannot undertake the testing; we will need 240V to undertake the sound testing.

Should I inform my neighbours of the impending sound testing?
If the building is attached in any way to occupied properties then you will need to inform the neighbours. We need to gain access to the neighbouring properties to undertake the sound test as we test the wall partition. You will also need to ensure that access is provided to the neighbouring properties throughout the sound testing.

Can you offer acoustic advice to help me to pass my sound testing?
APT offer an acoustic design service to help you design your buildings partitions to pass Part E sound testing. If you send through the relevant drawings such as sections and floor plans during the design stages of the project, we can check the design to see if there are any junctions or details where ‘noise flanking’ may occur, we can then advise if any changes are required to lower the chance of sound test failures.

Rest Assured. We believe in working with our clients on all types of projects from small end of terrace developments up to large blocks of flats. We believe that by being involved at the beginning of a project we can often save our clients expensive and difficult remedial works at the completion stage of a project.

If you would like more information on our full range of our acoustic services please contact us now at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or call us on 07775 623464

 

 

Buying Made-to-Measure Blinds

Buying Made-to-Measure Blinds
As we plan for the summer weather, that means it’s time for smart homeowners and flat dwellers to make sure they are doing everything they can to keep their homes as cool as possible this summer.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, most people can expect to save anywhere from £10 to £50 per year on their utility bills simply by draught-proofing around windows and exterior doors. Those with a bigger budget might consider having double-glazed windows installed, but for many, this is simply too much of an undertaking both financially and logistically.

Yet another way to keep your home cool in the summer is simply by ordering made-to-measure blinds for the windows and exterior doors which provide superior coverage and insulation compared to most models available in home improvement stores.

When it comes to keeping the home cooler in the summer, the benefits of made-to-measure blinds are twofold: darker colours will block out more sunlight, and made-to-measure blinds will cover the windows and doors more completely, allowing fewer rays of sunlight to enter through cracks or around the edges of blinds.

Types of blinds that one might consider for this purpose include pleated blinds and blinds which are custom built to fit the window with their own frame. Many excellent models are available which do not require drilling into your existing windows or otherwise voiding the warranty, so if you do already have plans to install replacement windows, then custom blinds would be ideal!

The Beautiful Blind Company has been installing made-to-measure blinds in homes and offices in the Northeast for many years. Our Redcar-based installers provide an excellent service and will install our Perfect Fit blinds, or any other blinds you might select from our range of products, to meet your exact requirements.

For more information on how we can help you improve energy efficiency and keep your home comfortably cool all summer long, call us today on 01642 688049 or visit the Beautiful Blind website today.

 

Steps for a Planning Noise Assessment Impact assessment

5 Simple Steps for a Planning Noise Assessment Impact assessment
Prior to the noise survey the acoustic consultant will need to know the noise parameters set by the local environmental protection team for the required noise impact assessment.

1st Step – Baseline situation
It will usually be necessary to have a full understanding of the existing noise levels in the vicinity of the receptor. This can be achieved by carrying out a planning noise survey of background or ambient noise levels over the period when the noise source will be operational.

The baseline noise levels will usually be determined by measuring the LA90 or the LAeq, however in practice both will usually be measured simultaneously.

The term ‘LA90’ is the ‘A’ weighted noise level exceeded for 90% of the measurement period. Typically this is called the background noise level if it relates to a period when the noise source is not operational.

The ‘A’ weighting is a correction applied within a sound level meter to adjust the response of the Class A noise meter to match the response of human hearing at different frequencies. This is used to exclude short-term noises, such as a vehicle passing from the measurement value, leaving only the underlying or background noise.

The terms ‘LAeq’ is as an average noise level over the measurement period, although it relates to the average noise energy. It is a popular and universally used measure which correlates well with human annoyance.

Step 2 – Noise sources and times of operation
A detailed knowledge of the noise source (or in the case of a proposed development, the likely noise source) is also essential. This is because noise levels are of less importance than the amount by which they exceed the baseline noise and the times or days of operation.

Step 3 – Manufacturer Data for Proposed Equipment
If the proposed development will create a source of noise, the noise consultant may need the manufacturer’s data for proposed equipment, times of operation and working practices.

Step 4 – Determining the impact
Noise impact is determined using a variety of methods, all of which will rely on comparing noise levels at a receptor against absolute noise level criteria or against existing baseline noise levels. Generally one of three approaches is used:

  1. Where the proposal is for a development which will introduce an industrial type noise source, or where a receptor in a new development may be affected by this type of source, it is usual to assess impact by comparing the noise level, after making corrections for certain attributes of the noise, against background noise levels at the receptor (existing or proposed). The council expects that, at the receptor, noise from the source is a certain amount below existing background levels. Typical cases include new equipment in a business, an air conditioning unit or an extract and fan serving a restaurant. This is known as the BS4142 methodology.
  2. In some cases the impact does not depend on a comparison between source levels and baseline levels. For example, a proposed housing development is close to an existing road, where generally the impact is determined by establishing whether the absolute levels due to the source are acceptable.
  3. Applications for certain developments may require a more specialist approach. For example, the method for assessing a new nightclub combines both elements. Existing levels of noise in low frequency bands are measured and compared against levels in those same frequencies with music playing. The council may then require that the music does not cause any increase above existing levels.

Step 5 – Noise mitigation measures
Development proposals which are inherently noisy may include mitigation measures in the original scheme. However, the need for further mitigation may be necessary when the impact assessment indicates that the acceptability criteria are exceeded. Either way noise mitigation, or reduction measures, should be considered in the assessment in demonstrating how the acceptability criteria will be achieved.

The most effective measures will be those which reduce levels at source, rather than in transmission or at the receptor. However, in situations such as where the proposal is for new housing near existing sources of noise, it will not be possible to reduce source noise levels. Where the proposal will introduce a new noise source it is good practice to reduce levels at source as far as possible, before considering other mitigation measures, some of these may be:

  1. Reduction of noise at source – Using equipment or systems with lower sound power levels is highly effective and can avoid the need for other more costly and intrusive mitigation options. Noise impact can be lessened by reducing total running times or by shifting operations to less sensitive times of the day. The use of acoustic silencers and enclosures around the source may also be effective at reducing the need for other mitigation methods.
  2.  Reduction of noise in transmission – The simplest way to reduce noise once emitted is by increasing the distance to receptors. For example, siting of plant and equipment within an industrial site as far away from sensitive receptors as possible and/or the new housing development may be designed so that properties are set back from a noise source. In many cases, a properly calculated buffer zone between source and receptor will represent the most cost effective solution.
  3. Reduction of noise at a receptor –  if the development is located in a busy urban area, this may be the only option to reduce the noise impact, also where the applicant has no access to land for the construction of a barrier. The way a development is designed can be an effective mitigation tool if the building faces away from the main noise source. Also, if noise sensitive rooms are located on the sheltered side of the building, the impact will be reduced at the most sensitive areas.
  4. Acoustic Improvements to the building façade – Where no other options are available, improving the sound insulation of a building facade can be effective in reducing internal noise levels. However, often it will be necessary to provide acoustic treated mechanical ventilation to avoid the need to open windows in warm or humid weather, this is often the solution next to busy elevated railway lines.

If you would like more information in regards to our noise surveys for planning and acoustic design for your development, please visit the APT Sound Testing website or call us today on: 07775 623464.

A New Bathroom from PT Ranson

A New Bathroom from PT Ranson
A new year is an excellent time to make improvements in various aspects of your life, and some areas ready for a change may include such all-important areas of your home as the kitchen and bath. If you have plans to move home or remodel a bathroom in your home, it will be helpful to know what will be fashionable in 2015 and, PT Ranson bathrooms with such delights the range of Victoria and Albert Baths will be able to help you. For those looking to move house then the rooms that buyers scrutinize are the kitchen and bathroom.

Since other rooms can be improved upon with paint, floor wax or carpeting and perhaps some minor electrical work, an attractive, recently updated kitchen or bathroom is more likely to tip the scales in favour of a sale. If you are planning to upgrade to designer bathrooms in your current home for a future home sale or for your own enjoyment, you will want to do your research and find a manufacturer of high-quality luxury bathroom fittings who can deliver exactly what you want. If you are adding a new bathroom to your current home, you will want to choose a sleek design that provides the greatest possible return on your investment, and in many cases it will make sense to upgrade existing bathrooms to ensure a similarly updated and well-appointed look. The right designer will be able to help you do just that.

People adding a new bathroom to their home or upgrading to designer bathrooms have many things to consider before going into a showroom, and it is helpful to envision the desired result before deciding between the options that you have based on space availability, plumbing and other issues. One of the most obvious considerations is what you generally want your designer bathrooms to look like. Do you have a preferred colour scheme? What about a preference for features that will be easy to clean? Do certain types of fixtures appeal to you more than others? Next, consider how your preferences will work with the layout of your current bathroom. To what extent might the existing layout have to change? Would you be willing and able to consider a more extensive renovation that involves new plumbing and electrical wiring? Will the dimensions of your existing bathroom or planned add-on leave enough space and allow for comfortable placement of fittings and ease of movement between the tub or shower, toilet and sink? All of these questions need to be answered before ordering your luxury bathroom fittings, and the right manufacturer will come to your home, do a walk-through and work with you to develop a design that will work with your preferences as well as any variables that cannot be changed.

Once you have gone through this initial phase of the design process, you will be able to decide on the features that you would like to include in your renovated bathroom. Popular features right now include basin-style sinks on vanity bases with additional shelving or drawers, wide sinks and mirrors which can be shared by couples in master baths, free-standing tubs, recessed spaces for shampoo and other toiletries, stainless steel fixtures and white or off-white fittings against a dark background. If you have limited cabinetry in your current bathroom or exposed plumbing which you would like to conceal, certain luxury bathroom fittings by Kohler and others can solve both problems in the form of an equally attractive and useful vanity base which also will also make the best possible use of the space.

Shower cubicles can also be an excellent space-saving feature which makes for easier cleaning. For larger bathrooms, separate shower cubicles and free-standing tubs are an attractive way to break up a large space, and windows with a view of the treetops can make the bath experience even more relaxing. Finally, you will want to make certain that the installers are familiar with the manufacturer’s products and support services. A reputable designer will recommend knowledgeable installers who will typically bring in their own electricians and plumbers as needed for your bathroom renovation project.

Whether your home is ten years old or 100 years old, adding a new bathroom or upgrading to designer bathrooms is one of the best investments you can make in your home. The right luxury bathroom fittings will make your daily routine more enjoyable, impress your guests and put you in a favourable position to sell your home should that day ever come. You might even find that certain space-saving features are more attractive than the ones you already have. Make sure that the designer you choose can offer the best value for the design you have chosen, and your new designer bathroom will delight your family and guests for many years to come.

Many Burgbad bathroom furniture pieces, including sleek wood shelving and wall-mounted vanities, work especially well in bathrooms which reflect an appreciation for the beauty of nature. Imagine having such a bathroom for yourself; you’ll most certainly feel an improvement in your quality of life from the first time you step across the heated floor to your beautiful new tub for a relaxing soak surrounded by calming, natural colours and features.

P.T. Ranson has been supplying and installing components for luxury bathrooms across the UK for over 15 years. We work with architect’s specifications as needed and are prepared to guide homeowners through every step of the process, from initial consultation and planning to final installation. Let our experts outfit your home with the luxury bathroom of your dreams in 2015.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call us today on 0191 469 6999 or visit the P.T. Ranson designer bathrooms website today.

Gifts for the Home and Garden

Buying Gifts for the Home and Garden
During this time of the year, many people are moving to a new home, a new town and even some moving to a different part of the country. Many of your friends might be moving to a new home where the tradition is usually to bring a gift for a house warming. Alternatively, something for your new apartment neighbour is a nice get-to-know gift.

Here are some ideas for house warming gifts for the home and garden.

There are some cute items on the market currently for the kitchen. A new cutting board is a gift that only gets better with time as well as seasoning. A nice one has a deep moat for juices, and fine ones have heft and durability that only a fine cutting board can provide. This and other items such as kitchen towels can be personalized with the family’s name. Other kitchen items include ceramic mixing bowls, nice set of measuring cups and spoon, ceramic Mason jar mugs, or other kitchen type items are always great gifts for the home and garden.

Traditional house warming gifts need to have significance for the new home. Candles are usually given to bless a new home with warmth and light. A lovely bottle of personalised wine is often a great gift and this idea can be incorporated in house warming gifts like an elegant wine decanter or wine glasses, wine accessories, or gifts for the kitchen or bathroom. These will always work well as house warming gifts.

A home is a place to indulge and relax; these are the items, which encourage new residents to put their feet up and to enjoy their surroundings.  Food is always an important part of any home, and kitchen gifts are always a great gift to welcome friends or relatives into their new home.

Flowers or potted plants make lovely gifts for home and garden. Select a bouquet or lucky bamboo plant to use on their new dining room table. Great garden gift such as a garden kneeler and bird feeders all are great house warming gifts. Seed kits and aromatherapy garden kit can be used for indoor or outdoor, so they will work well for new apartment neighbours.

Garden items are numerous and many are unique such as a light for the back step, which gets its energy from the sun during the day. For the yard and gardens there are hundreds of unique and different items that make wonderful all available at the home and gift shop.

However, it really does not matter what you give as a gift as those who are in the middle of a move are usually just happy to see a smiling face or the chance to meet the neighbours they will be living close. Therefore, if you see someone moving in, just stop and introduce yourself, and make him or her feel welcomed in his or her new neighbourhood.

SO were to find these great gift ideas? Online shopping websites such as the Home and Gift shop offer convenience and range, offering everything for the home and garden, including a diverse range of home & garden furniture, including a range of gift ideas for the kitchen and bedroom, many of which you probably never knew existed.

Shopping online for home furnishings and gifts is also great way to get decorating ideas and the perfect way to find a huge selection of products. And, by shopping online, you will often also be able to find high quality items at bargain prices, something that every homemaker will appreciate!

So, be creative and have fun when choosing the home furnishings and giftware for your new home. And remember, you can browse an ever growing range of gifts for the home and garden twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week at the Home and Gift Shop website.

Buying Orangery Roof Blinds

Buying Orangery Roof Blinds
One of the many wonderful things about having a home with an orangery or conservatory is the beautiful all-angles view of the outdoors that can be enjoyed in all seasons. Unfortunately, the notion that their perfect view would be sacrificed keeps some homeowners from making a very worthwhile investment in orangery roof blinds. Those who fall into this category would do well to reconsider, as the benefits of having them far outweigh any downsides.

Advantages of orangery or conservatory blinds are numerous, and some of them are equally aesthetic and practical. During summer, orangery or conservatory blinds can prevent the carpet and furniture in your conservatory from being faded by sunlight. Advantages in the winter are mainly related to energy efficiency, since blinds anywhere in the conservatory, including the roof, help to block draughts so that the space can be heated without causing your home heat bill to significantly increase. By installing orangery or conservatory blinds in particular, you can prevent cool, heavy, ambient air from sinking in via the conservatory roof. If you have ever wondered what could be done to make your conservatory more liveable during cold weather, then orangery or conservatory blinds may be exactly what you need.

Questions that all homeowners may consider before installing orangery blinds include the following:

What are the blinds made of?
This seems like a fairly obvious question; if you’ve gone to the trouble and expense of having a conservatory installed in your home, then you’re obviously not going to choose blinds that don’t contribute to the desired look and feel or which don’t seem built to last. Going beyond appearances, though, it is important to ensure that your blinds are constructed of high-quality, environmentally-friendly or “green” materials.

Why green? Simple: as with carpeting, drywall and virtually all other home building materials, blinds newly constructed of or coated with materials high in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) off-gas at higher concentrations than those that have been in place for some time. Think of the smell of a brand-new car…and then realise that that the smell of newness is a potential health hazard if synthetic materials are the source. Simply put, don’t opt for plastic if wood or another natural material will look even better without polluting your indoor environment or putting yourself and your family at risk. If installing blinds made of a natural material with a synthetic coating, plan to have them installed at a time of year when the weather will permit leaving the windows open for at least two or three days to give those VOC odours a chance to dissipate.

Are the blinds mildew-resistant?
This is not a question people tend to consider about any orangery or conservatory blinds installed in the home, but it is important to find the answer regarding any orangery or conservatory blinds you may be thinking of buying. Have you ever had to clean mildew off the wooden trim around a bathroom window following weeks or months of condensation accumulating there? Can you imagine what a nightmare it would be to have to do likewise with an entire conservatory full of blinds or to hire a service to do the cleaning – assuming it were even possible to clean off the unsightly growth?

Since your orangery or conservatory blinds will be in close proximity to windows at all times and orangery or conservatory blinds  cannot be reached without a ladder, it is of the utmost importance that this problem be sidestepped through the selection of high-quality orangery or conservatory blinds  that can withstand significant changes in temperature and humidity. The right orangery or conservatory blinds  for your home will add beauty and comfort to your conservatory and stand the test of time without becoming a maintenance burden.

In-Style Blinds has been manufacturing bespoke blinds and specialising in orangery or conservatory blinds for over 15 years. Our manufacturing process ensures that only the best and safest materials will be used to produce the blinds that will make your conservatory more attractive and more functional.

For more information or to schedule your free appointment, call In-Style Blinds today on 01642 762497 or visit the Orangery Roof Blinds company website today.

Keeping your Dog Warm & Dry this Winter with Waggers

Keeping your Dog Warm & Dry this Winter
The cold weather is here once again, as we can all tell by the crispness in the air, snow is probably due soon and the sun setting earlier with each passing day. The fact that the days are much shorter and cooler again need not mean cutting short the amount of time your four-legged friend gets to spend outside. While concerns related to sickness and injury are just as real for canines as they are for us, simple precautions and preparations will ensure that your dog gets just as much enjoyment out of autumn and winter as the rest of us.

Helping Protect your dog from illness
Just like their human counterparts, dogs can catch a chill. And even when it seems inevitable that your beloved dog will sometimes get wet and dirty, such as during walks through the neighbourhood when it unexpectedly starts raining, or going for walks in old, dirty snow – because let’s face it, the weather isn’t going to stop your dog from needing to use nature’s facilities – it is important to be prepared for those unavoidable moments when a short jaunt outside leaves your friend in need of a quick bath and drying off and to provide a resilient and hardwearing dog bed.

A number of reputable companies specialising in pet care offer supplies such as thermal dog coats and dog towels made of advanced microfibre materials designed to pull more moisture away from your dog’s coat than a cotton towel. Keeping such a towel and a dog brush by the front door at all times will also ensure that any puddles or snow your dog might walk through outside won’t accompany you into your home.

Helping Protect your dog from injury
Whether you’re an enthusiastic runner or simply cannot go a day without a lengthy walk through the city or countryside in the evening, your dog is undoubtedly a big part of the time you spend outdoors. When the days are getting shorter, or if you generally take your leisurely outdoor stroll or jog during the wee hours of the morning, it is extremely important that your dog have protection in the form of some sort of reflective lead or jacket so that any cars you pass along the way will be aware of the other living creature trotting along beside you. While many dogs prefer to run in grass and dirt rather than on pavement, this may not be an option everywhere along the path your take for running or walking, and most dogs do not easily recognise which parts of a paved surface are areas where vehicles may legally pass.

Likewise, as most early-morning and after-dark joggers and walkers already know, drivers typically don’t expect to encounter foot traffic of any kind, which places the burden on the pedestrian, dog or no dog, to anticipate problems and prevent accidental injury to both humans and pets. One of the best ways to make your dog visible in low light is with a reflective dog vest, which are available online in a wide range of sizes to fit any breed.

Waggers specialises in pet care products and offers a wide range of dog coats, dog towels and other supplies to keep your best canine friend healthy and happy all through the year. We offer a 100 percent money back guarantee with free returns on the UK Mainland, and we will even take £10 off your first order when you request our catalogue!

For more information, call us today on 0844 573 5310 or visit the Waggers Online Pet Supplies today.

Displaying Your Thimble Collection with the Thimble Guild

Displaying Your Thimble Collection
So it’s 2015 and you are new to the world of thimble collecting. One of the things you think you might need is a dedicated display rack or perhaps you’re a more seasoned collector whose treasure trove is gradually outgrowing the display rack or racks you already have.

In either case, you may be wondering what your options are and where to purchase the display rack that best suits your needs.

When looking for a thimble rack, you have two considerations: first, it is important to look specifically for display racks that are designed for displaying your thimble collection. These will include pegs to hold your thimbles in place and keep them evenly spaced for best viewing. Second, you want to consider how you want your collection to look in whatever display rack or racks you choose.

For many, the right display case will simply depend on the size of the collection. Thimble racks may have as few as 7 or up to 48 pegs, and deluxe display cabinets can hold up to 300 thimbles. For absolute beginners who are slowly growing their collections, a thimble rack designed for 12 or fewer thimbles may suffice. For collectors with dozens or hundreds of thimbles to display, the question is a bit more complicated since there are more options. Seasoned collectors in particular will do well to consider any of the following possibilities:

Large display racks
These often make the most sense for collectors with hundreds of thimbles. Luckily, it need not be expensive to acquire one, two or even a few large, wall-mounted wooden display cases for your collection.

Many small racks
You’ve heard of photo walls as a popular way to display large numbers of photos in areas that could just as easily accommodate one large painting or print. Why not do the same thing with your thimble collection? If you have a wide variety of different types of thimbles, consider grouping similar thimbles together on smaller racks to create a similar effect with your thimble collection. A “thimble wall” presentation, like a photo wall, can be a very attractive way to break up a large, otherwise blank space on a wall in your living room.

Novelty racks
If you like the “thimble wall” idea, you could even take it a step further by displaying your thimble collection on a variety of novelty racks shaped like houses, owls, tea kettles and even Scottish terriers. The possibilities really are endless, and the novelty racks themselves are certain to make your thimble collection even more eye-catching.

Thimble Guild has been in the business of providing thimbles and thimble accessories for new and seasoned thimble collectors for over 30 years. Our wide variety of traditional and novelty display racks, in a variety of wood colours and shapes, will make it easy for you to grow and attractively display your collection.

Let our friendly and knowledgeable staff assist you in acquiring the rare and one-of-a-kind thimbles and display racks that will set off your collection so that you and others can enjoy it for many years to come.

For more information on how to best display your thimble collection, call us today on 0844 573 1658 or visit www.thimbleguild.com